Tricounty News

Urdahl awarded for rural education work


State Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township, is one of only three House members to receive recognition for their efforts to support education in Greater Minnesota during the 2013 legislative session.

The Minnesota Rural Education Association singled out Urdahl as a Hero of Rural Education for his work this year to rectify a situation pertaining to teacher licensure.

Urdahl said some teachers’ careers are in jeopardy for failing the exams, even though parts of the test aren’t related to their teaching field. He successfully advocated a provision that would allow teachers to continue teaching for an additional two years if they fail state-mandated licensure exams. Also, a task force was created through legislation Urdahl authored. It will recommend a remedy as to how teachers are tested and how to ensure they are proficient in their content area.

“You have a situation where, for example, kindergarten teachers are expected to pass a test for college-level mathematics,” Urdahl said. “We need to ensure we have top-notch teachers in Minnesota, but also want to make sure we aren’t pushing talented educators out of the classroom for reasons not relevant to their particular work. That is what I am working to resolve.”

Democrat Reps. Kathy Brynaert, Mankato, and Paul Marquardt, Dilworth, also received recognition from MREA.

Watkins council accepts pool, park and fire donations

At the first pool fundraiser put on by the new pool committee, $6,942 was raised by the pork chop feed, beanbag tournament, beer garden, and raffle Saturday, June 8.

Pool director Nora Rohrbeck reported to the city council at its June 13 meeting that the event was very successful. Sponsors included Watkins Legion Club, Watkins Lions Club, Watkins Lioness Club, Watkins Fire Department, St. Anthony Church, West Central Sanitation, Mini Biff Inc., Pump Up Your Party , Knaus Sausage House, Tri-County News, Farmers State Bank of Watkins, Wally’s Café, Morgan and Arlis Klein and family, Shorty’s Laborers Lounge, Bud’s Bar, Flash’s Gas and Auto, Broken Wheel Farms, Ponies and Pals Daycare, Ertl Hardware, Riverwood Realty, Faber Building and Supplies, CentraSota, Mies Outland. Christina’s Hair and Nail Salon, Jean Reinert, Ben and Amanda Stommes, and Stein’s Thriftway Foods. There were countless others who contributed to the success of the fundraiser by donating and/or volunteering. In addition, the Watkins Lions Club agreed Thursday night to donate $100/month to the pool fund for a year.

Swimming lessons have begun for the season. Thirteen lifeguards have been hired, three of whom are new-hires. Four concession stand workers were hired. Pool inspection was scheduled for June 14. 

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County Committee Election

This announcement is for all farmers, ranchers, owners, operators, tenants, sharecroppers, and others who are eligible to vote in the upcoming Farm Service Agency County Committee election.

The 2013 Stearns County FSA election will be held in Local Administrative Area (LAA) #1, which includes the following townships: Brockway, Collegeville, Fairhaven, LeSauk, Lynden, Luxemburg, Maine Prairie, Rockville, Saint Augusta, Saint Cloud, Saint Joseph, Saint Wendel, and Wakefield.

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DNR to offer state lands at public auction

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will offer for sale more than 20 parcels of state lands at two public auctions to be held July 23-24. A third auction date has been scheduled on July 30 to offer any remaining parcels that did not sell at the initial two auctions.

The majority of the parcels are school trust lands, some of which are lakeshore lots. Also included in the auction is the former St. Croix Boy’s Camp with 3,000 feet of river frontage along the Tamarack River in Pine County.

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Eden Valley road work still delayed, moving forward

Kent Louwagie of Bolton & Menk, the city’s engineering firm, told the Eden Valley City Council at its June 5 meeting that there is no bid date yet for planned road and water/sewer work on Highway 22. He explained that everything is ready to go, pending MnDOT approval of the project; they’ve had the paperwork since the first week of March but have not yet given the go-ahead. Once they receive MnDOT approval, the request for bids must be published three consecutive weeks, then they can open bids. It could take a week or so, Louwagie says, to execute a contract. He fully expects the project to begin yet this summer, and sees no obstaclesW-CIMG2800once approval is received from MnDOT.

Patty Carlson of First Fuel Banks came with Jonathan Morales, the YES! program coordinator, to answer questions about a proposed oil recycling depository for the city. As part of the high school’s Carbon Cutting group, it is proposed to have an oil deposit container at the city maintenance building. The students would monitor the site, and First Fuel Banks would be responsible for emptying it and performing any clean-up needed. Carlson explained that there is no cost to the city for this, and that the proposed above-ground system is more cost-effective now than the below ground system in Kimball, for instance.

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